The Département de physique at the Université de Montréal (UdeM) offers a comprehensive study and research program leading to a master’s or doctoral degree in physics with specialization in astronomy and astrophysics. The expertise of the astronomy & astrophysics group covers a wide range of research topics, going from exoplanets, solar, stellar, galactic and extragalactic astrophysics as well as astronomical instrument development. In most cases, the different research projects involve as much observational and data acquisition techniques as theoretical analysis, numerical simulation and modeling. The relative importance of those components varies according to researcher and project.

  • Research on exoplanets focuses on the detection of planets orbiting young stars and red dwarf stars as well as the analysis and characterization of their physical properties. This research effort includes the development of advanced instruments data reduction and image processing techniques [Benneke, Lafrenière, Doyon].
  • In solar physics, research centers on magnetohydrodynamical modelling and simulation of the solar magnetic cycle and its impact on the sun’s radiative output [Charbonneau], and on data assimilation and modelling of solar active regions and prediction of associated flares [Vincent].
  • Research in stellar astronomy is structured along many threads : study of massive stars and their winds [St-Louis, Moffat], white dwarfs structure, evolution and atmospheres [Bergeron, Dufour, Fontaine], asteroseismology [Fontaine], transport processes and patterns of stellar chemical abundances [Michaud], stellar formation and young stars [Bastien, Doyon], and brown dwarfs properties [Lafrenière].
  • In galactic astronomy, research focuses on the interstellar medium in the galactic plane and stellar formation in molecular clouds [Bastien].
  • Research topics in extragalactic astronomy focuses on high energy astrophysics and the role of supermassive black holes at the center of galaxies [Hlavacek-Larrondo].
  • Instrument development efforts center on the development of imaging cameras in the infrared as well as in the optical for OMM and other major observatories such as CFHT, Gemini, and the future space telescope JWST [Doyon, Lafrenière].
  • In term of computing resources the group has access to the computing resources offered by Calcul Québec and Compute Canada supercomputers.

The astronomy group operates the Observatoire du Mont-Mégantic (OMM) in conjunction with Université Laval and is part of the Center for Research in Astrophysics of Quebec (CRAQ), which brings together researchers in astronomy and astrophysics from the Université de Montréal, Laval, McGill and Bishop’s. The members of the group benefit from close collaborative links with several major international research centers and hold several grants and research contracts from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the Fonds de Recherche du Québec – Nature et Technologies (FRQNT), and the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI).

The astronomy group is also the host of the Institute for Research on Exoplanet (iREx). The institute consists of a growing team of more than 40 people (professors, post-docs, research assistants and students), mainly from UdeM and McGill, all working on various research programs focused on the study of exoplanets and related fields of stellar astrophysics.